Using Photo Editing Programs as a Design Tool

When I was in art school, often before you began a painting you did 50 - 100 "thumbnail" sketches to test out your composition. These were quick and loose, usually about 2 inches in size. The idea is that you were supposed to decide on your composition BEFORE you begin the painting. Sometimes, though, I like to just experiment. The painting above is a combination of the following experiments
  • laying on acrylic paint in washes and layers
  • scratching into the paint while it's wet
  • wiping away portions while it's wet
  • dropping rubbing alcohol into the wet paint
  • laying a wash of rubbing alcohol down and then painting over that with thinned paint while it was still wet.
I started with a layer of a golden primer/gesso. I really like starting with a colored base, as I think that gives the painting some unity. This is one of my favorite paintings, probably because I had so much fun experimenting and PLAYING. It's about 5 by 7 inches.

I used my photo editing program to crop some images out of the painting. I'm using my computer to make "thumbnail sketches".

I love the softness in the image above...

This image and the one below are the same crop,
but I've flipped it from left to right.
To me, the one above is more inviting.

Now that I've experimented, the idea is to remember what made what texture and to use it on purpose in a painting.


Little Blue Violet said...

I also love this. It is so calming and yet, holds my interest. I think its wonderful. Would love to gaze at it after a stressful day or when I need grounded and rejuvenated. Very nicely done!

Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

This is a warm inviting painting. I know what you mean about remembering and using the process on purpose. But isn't the experimenting the fun part anyway?

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden